The weather was so exciting (as in bad) yesterday, I forgot to write. We had a cluster of tornadoes in central Oklahoma with more than twenty touching down. Sadly, six people perished.
After writing those words, gardening seems superfluous, but I do have some thoughts about my garden which relate to the weather. Before yesterday evening, our spring was slow starting and very cool. Then, suddenly, May began and storm season with it (which isn’t unusual). The first and second weeks of May are always the most dangerous for tornadoes in Oklahoma. You may remember the deadly storm from May 9, 1999, as the most recent bad outbreak.
If you haven’t seen enough national footage, here’s some on our local television station.
For everyone who wondered about me, my family is all fine. We live north of Oklahoma City between Edmond and Guthrie. My mother and sister, who live in the middle of Oklahoma City are fine too. The twister which formed over Edmond didn’t appear to touch down anywhere, so my friends are all okay.
There were storms north and south of us, but we just received straight winds and a little rain. The big tornadoes hit south of Oklahoma City in Del City and Norman and their surrounds. I want to say how proud I am of my fellow Oklahomans and how much I love them. Throughout the storms of life, those manmade and those created in nature, Oklahomans are a courageous bunch who are always ready to jump in and help. As usual, the authorities are having to turn people away.
My garden is responding to the rain and cooler temperatures. Roses are blooming with gusto because they didn’t have a late freeze to stop them in their tracks. I don’t think I ever saw a prettier spring. There are also few bugs to mar the scene. Perhaps, the extra cold winter weather is the cause. I’m seeing some leaf damage from rose slugworms (little green larvae of the rose sawfly). I’ve been squishing them, and you can also use a pyrethrum based spray, but the damage isn’t that bad. They skeletonize the leaves as shown.
As for the vegetable garden, I’ve eaten most of the bok choy and had green onions everyday. Tonight, I’ll make Grandma Nita’s wilted lettuce salad for the first time. (I’ve listed the recipe below) which is one of my spring touchstones. I also need to eat the broccoli because it is trying to bolt. I’ll get two heads and then some sideshoots before I pull it. The red cabbage is growing by leaps and bounds, but no heads are forming yet. They may not if the wather warms too fast. It is one of the conundrums of growing cool weather crops in Oklahoma that we have such a short window in spring to mature these vegetables.
Grandma Nita’s Wilted Lettuce Salad
3 slices bacon (or three tablespoons of a good vegetable oil)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dash of salt
Four cups of leaf lettuce like Black Seeded Simpson – rinsed, dried and
torn into pieces
5 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
1. Fry bacon, remove from skillet, crumble and set aside.
2. To the still-hot bacon drippings, add the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir over medium heat until hot and bubbly. (Be careful during this step so that the drippings don’t splatter you.)
3. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and green onions. Add the warm dressing and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and enjoy.
I have pea blooms. Peas will follow. For Mother’s Day, Bill bought me these funky multi-colored tomato cages because I don’t like to stake.
Before the storms, yesterday, I drove an hour and a half to Sunshine Nursery in Clinton, Oklahoma. It really is the best place to find unusual shrubs and trees. I bought a very small desert willow cultivar, ‘Burgundy’.
Now, where to plant it? I do that occasionally; buy plants and not know where they are going, but I wouldn’t advise it.
That’s all I have for this week. Bill and I celebrate our 21st anniversary tomorrow. We got married in a storm, not a fever (although Bill’s likes to pretend so). More supercell weather is predicted for tomorrow night. We have reservations at the Coach House so I hope the storms don’t interfere.